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Nurses with DNPs: Leaders for a Changing Healthcare System

 |  3 Min Read

Today’s healthcare system is poised for massive change, and nurses with the right experience and credentials, including the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, will be at the forefront of transforming healthcare and patient care for the better.

The DNP degree represents more than nursing’s highest academic credential. Through an emphasis on scholarship and research, online DNP programs help turn nurses into leaders in demand across a broad range of clinical, administrative, and educational roles.

Earn a degree that’s in high demand.

Our nation’s growing healthcare needs mean that skilled nursing professionals remain in high demand, with available jobs expected to rise by 16 percent through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1 In recognition of the growing demand for advanced nursing credentials, the number of students enrolled in DNP programs has increased from 70 students in 2002 to more than 20,000 each year.2

The growth of DNP programs online reflect that along with the rising demand for nursing professionals, there’s also a growing need for leaders who can tackle the most complex issues of practice and implementation, both in day-to-day healthcare delivery as well as the design, management, and evaluation of healthcare systems. Online DNP programs prepare experienced nurses to advance their careers and become leaders in their field.

Experience a broad range of roles.

Nurses with a DNP can become leaders in a broad range of settings, including:

Clinical Roles of a DNP

DNP credentials are recommended for many of the advanced nursing practice roles expected to grow in importance as the healthcare system continues to evolve.3 In recognition of the growing importance of nurses as practitioners and specialists, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has recommended doctorate-level training for the following roles2:

  • Nurse practitioners
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Nurse anesthetists
  • Nurse midwives

Executive Roles of a DNP

In large healthcare systems, DNPs play critical leadership roles, often focused on developing and ensuring the quality of patient care.

  • Director of nursing/chief nursing officer
  • Clinical operations director
  • Director of patient care services
  • Nursing administrator
  • Nursing department director

Policy Roles of a DNP

DNPs often serve as the public face of healthcare issues. They also often draw from their research background to develop changes in policy and practice that improve patient outcomes.

  • Healthcare policy analyst
  • Community/public health director
  • Informatics/information systems analyst
  • Nonprofit/government executive

Education Roles of a DNP

DNPs take on advanced research roles at colleges and universities. Through teaching and scholarship, they also help prepare the next generation of highly trained healthcare professionals— a role currently in high demand, given the critical shortage of nursing faculty.4

  • College professor/nursing instructor
  • Researcher

Take steps toward advancing your career.

Regardless of role, a DNP credential can advance your career. DNPs earn $7,600 more than peers in similar positions with master’s degrees, according to Nurse Journal. One survey conducted by found that DNPs earn between $104,600 and $108,387, with those in advanced practice roles earning even more.6 For example, nurse anesthetists earn between $156,940 and $170,060 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.7

Sacred Heart University’s Online Post-Master’s in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree can prepare you to advance your nursing career and prepare you to lead and manage the transformation of healthcare. The online program, which allows students to collaborate with peers across the country on clinically focused scholarship and research, can be completed part-time in three years.

For more information on Sacred Heart’s Online Post-Master’s in Doctor of Nursing Practice program, click here or call 877-791-7181 to speak to an admissions counselor.



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